Category: North American Mammals
Facts about Snowshoe Hare, "Scientific name for Snowshoe Hare is Lepus americanus". Snowshoe Hare is a rabbit or hare that is native to North America. The snowshoe hare is also called the snowshoe hare and the varying hare, since it alternates between brown in summer and white in winter.
The snowshoe hare has very large feet that act like natural snowshoes. This is critical for a species that lives in the Arctic and sub-Arctic areas. Snowshoe Hare lives throughout Canada and much of the northern United States, though its range follows the Appalachian and Sierra mountain south range.
Snowshoe hares prefer open fields, swamps and thickets (a group of bushes or small trees that grow close together). They will live in forest lowlands but not dense forest. The Snowshoe Hare prefer areas with a dense shrub layer to shield them from predators. The Snowshoe Hare are sixteen to twenty inches (40 to 50) in length, ranging from two to four pounds (.9 to 1.8kg) in weight.
The male Snowshoe Hare are actually smaller than the females, a trait they share with other hares. Females have home ranges, and when they are in heat, males congregate around them. Breeding season starts in March or once the snows melt, and it runs through August. Pregnancy is 36 days long. When female Snowshoe Hare give birth, they become aggressive toward males to protect the babies. The Snowshoe Hare give birth to two to four young on average, though litters of up to 8 have been known. Litters born around the end of summer tend to have more young due to better nutrition of the mother. Snowshoe Hare Pups are weaned within a month of birth. Female Snowshoe Hare may have up to four litters in the breeding season.
Snowshoe hares are born with fur and are able to move. They hide alone in the burrow while the mother is out foraging. They only come together to nurse, and they need just a few minutes to feed. Once they are weaned, they are kicked out of the nest by the mother. The Snowshoe Hare mature in one year. Snowshoe hares can live up to five years, but around three quarters of the hares don’t even live one year in the wild. They are eaten by nearly every predator in their ecosystem, eaten by foxes, wolves, cats, cougars, mink and human hunters.
Hares prefer to take the same routes over and over again, created roads in the vegetation.
Hares take dust baths to help remove parasites like fleas and ticks and they groom avidly. However, they do not groom each other and they can swim and sometimes enter the water in a bid to avoid predators. Younger Snowshoe Hares freeze to try to blend in with the environment to avoid predation, while older, faster hares usually try to flee. Hares are good jumpers, able to cover up to ten feet in one leap. The Snowshoe Hare can change direction upon landing to follow an erratic path that is difficult for a predator to follow.
Snowshoe hares eat grasses, weeds, flowers, the shoots of new trees like aspen. They eat buds, twigs, evergreen leaves and other woody plants in winter. They will rarely eat dead rodents when there is not enough food. Because their digestion process is inefficient, hares will often eat their own feces to improve nutrient retention.
Snowshoe hares do not hibernate. They are active year-round.
All Snowshoe Hare breeds are "lagomorphs" various plant-eating mammal of the order Lagomorpha ; a hare, rabbit, or pika.
Snowshoe Hare, having large strong rear legs, the rear feet have 4 toes and they are 5 toes on the two front paws.
Snowshoe Hare are born without fur and its eyes are closed and their eyes will open after 7 to 14 days of their birth. Snowshoe Hares are comfortable living in groups.
Snowshoe Hares have an outstanding sense of vision, smell and hearing. Having eyes on the side of their head and being so big, gives the Snowshoe Hare nearly 360 degrees vision, allowing them to see predators from all directions. They can see everything behind and in front of them and have just a small blind-spot in front of their nose.
Pet Snowshoe Hares should be kept in pairs for Companionship, its important for a rabbits happiness and it can live longer with a companion. In the wild, Snowshoe Hares are very social. Female Snowshoe Hares can produce about 2 to 4 litters of bunnies per year with 4 to 6 babies.
Snowshoe Hares are very clean animals and will groom themselves and also each other. Snowshoe Hares are crepuscular-(meaning the are most active at morning and evening) and do most of there feeding in the evening. Snowshoe Hares on average sleep about 8 hours.
Snowshoe Hares as pets enjoy wet food, pellets, carrots, hay or lettuce, dark leaf lettuce is good. (Iceberg lettuce contains too much water and too little fiber to be suitable.) Limit giving them fruit with sugar in it. Alfalfa provides the high caloric content necessary for baby bunnies development. Once Snowshoe Hares reach seven months of age, gradually switch them over to timothy hay, oat hay, or orchard grass. Avoid giving them yard clippings, since grass is often sprayed with fertilizer, insecticides, pesticides, and other chemicals Snowshoe Hares should not be eating. Their diet should consist of 70% of timothy hay and make sure they have fresh water every day.
Snowshoe Hare meat is lower in calories, cholesterol and fat, than beef, pork and chicken.
For bedding, give Snowshoe Hares wood pellets or aspen. You can use pelleted horse bedding. Do not give them pine or cedar. Clean the cage with either white vinegar or a cage safe cleaner; don’t use bathroom cleaner or other things that are toxic for the pet cage.
De-worming is a major concern and should be done in the spring and fall. A pea sized amount of de-worming paste in the Snowshoe Hare's mouth is sufficient for the Hare.
Snowshoe Hares love to run and can reach speeds of 30 to 40 mph. The average lifespan of a Snowshoe Hare is around 5 to 8 years and in captivity can live up to 10 years. Snowshoe Hares have 28 teeth and an incredible fact, a Snowshoe Hare’s teeth never stop growing throughout its life.
Rabbits can jump up to 36 inches (91.4 cm) and sometimes higher.
Snowshoe Hares have long ears which can be as long as 4 in" (10.2 cm). Snowshoe Hares are herbivores (a herbivore, eats leaves, grass, hay and furns (plant eaters) and also mammal. Snowshoe Hare’s digestion mostly takes place in their intestine and cecum. Their cecum is about 10 times bigger than their stomach.